I haven't read "News of the Weird" in many years (probably because I had to type it by hand from a hard copy every week for three years, back when we started this paper with etched concrete tablets). But here is something that should surely be in there, and I am falling out of my chair reading it.
It seems there's a woman up in Bristol, Tennessee, who has been arrested for praising the Lord too loudly. Just shoutin'! The first time police were called, she told them that she spent five hours every Sunday praising the Almighty, while dancing around the house to Johnny Cash, Randy Travis, the Judds, and Alan Jackson. I didn't even know you could dance to the Judds, much less praise the Lord to them. They warned her to keep it down because she was bothering the neighbors, but she kept on praising and dancing, and on May 28th, when neighbors called complaining again, they went to her house and caught her in the act and arrested her for disorderly conduct and violating the noise ordinance and made her spend the night in jail.
She told them once again that she was just praising the Lord in her own home but admitted that she was "going off and cussing." She also told a local television station about the arrest: "Randy Travis was singing 'I'm going home to pray to God tonight and hopefully he'll forgive my sins.' I looked at that officer and said, 'You better go home tonight and pray for your sins, because that's what Randy is telling you.' That's the gospel truth. Randy Travis told that man to go home and pray."
He probably went home and prayed she would move out of town. I so wish I had been there for that. I'm obsessed with this kind of sickness.
In fact, I'm pretty sick myself. My new thing to do is flip around all the local news channels in the morning and ring a bell and applaud every time one of the traffic reporters says "the flyover." I'm obsessed with it and often count the number of times they say it. I also wait on the edge of the couch for the inevitable prosthetic business commercial that is just footage of people being fitted with prosthetics with a really cheery jingle playing. Don't worry. I'm not making fun of people with prosthetics, just the jingle.
All of this is while changing my cats' names every morning. Speaking of which, I don't think I ever mentioned on this page that when I took my kitten Claude to be spayed (yes, Claude is a female cat named after Mrs. Drysdale's poodle on The Beverly Hillbillies) and went to pick her up, the doctors had put a little hospital choker around her neck with the name "Clod." She has been emotionally scarred ever since and now lives her life in weeklong phases. One week on one chair, the next week on another chair, the next week two inches from me at all times.
I also wish I had been at the Civil War reenactment or party or celebration or whatever it was last week to commemorate the war's 150th anniversary down in Confederate Park. Praise the Lord, are we EVER going to stop wasting valuable time, money, resources, and attention to the bunch that fought to keep slavery legal? I know it is a part of history and shouldn't be rewritten (unlike the Texas school books that took out that little detail about slavery) and that historians love it, but come on. I'm surprised they don't go to the old slave auction site downtown and reenact the selling of Africans. And now they want to put Civil War-era cannons in the park? That is just plain gross. And I loved the part about the guy at the Civil War party who first donned a Union uniform and then changed into a Confederate one and said, "Now I get to be the good guy," and called the war the "Northern war of aggression" and the "war for Southern independence," or something like that. I hope he was joking or trying to be satirical, but I kind of have my doubts. Maybe he can get a job as a greeter when they open that giant bait shop in the Pyramid.
Oh, and by the way, nothing personal, Colonel. You all can congregate, commemorate, and collectively celebrate the Confederacy (I, personally, am a slave to alliteration) any time, anywhere you like, but please don't put a bunch of tacky old cannons in Confederate Park and someone please change that park's name! And dig up Nathan Bedford Forrest out of that park and move him to a damn cemetery. And the next time you all get together, why don't you praise the Lord really loudly while dancing around to the Dixie Chicks and see if the police show up?
This week it starts in earnest — the questioning. You can't escape it. It comes from your spouse, your kids, your parents — at the breakfast table, in the car, on the phone, via email: "What do you want for Christmas?" ...